So now you have your list and you’re ready to start querying. If this is your first time querying, I’d recommend breaking up your list of agents into tiers. The ones you really, really want to work with—like the dream—those are tier one. Then everyone else should be tier two. Because honestly, you shouldn’t have anyone you’d consider a tier three or four. This is your career as an author we’re talking about. Don’t put it in the hands of someone you wouldn’t consider top tier.
For me, second tier would include: Someone else I’m interested in who is at the same agency as one of my top agents (a lot of agencies won’t let you query more than one person at the agency at the same time). Others on tier two could potentially be less seasoned agents who are at good agencies. So someone who doesn’t have a ton of sales yet because they’ve only just moved into “agent” or are a “junior agent” at their agency. Or a really good agent you just aren’t obsessed with (yet).
The only reason I say to break them up this way is because of who you want to query first, and this differs depending on if you are querying for the first time or if you are an author who has left your agent and is looking for a new agent.
If you’re an author looking for a new agent, query your top list first. Those are the people you really want to work with. Get your work in front of them. You don’t want to get an offer for representation and find yourself thinking, “I should’ve queried so and so!”
If you’re querying for the first time, and you are really confident in your query, go for that top tier list first for the same reason. If you’re uncertain about how good your query is, query 10 - 15 people on your tier two list. Which brings me to…